Barwon Water recently refurbished its 50 year old Geelong office, transforming it into the greenest office in Geelong – Ryrie HQ. The upgrade transformed the building from 0.5 Star Green Star equivalent to 5 Star Green Star, and is an exemplar of what sustainable outcomes can be achieved through building redesign and refurbishment.
Historically Barwon Water’s Geelong staff were split across two major office locations, three kilometres apart. This physical separation of the 300 staff has been a challenge to staff effectiveness, efficiency and collaboration, as well as inefficient use of resources. The consolidation of office spaces presented an excellent opportunity to build an iconic, state-of-the-art sustainable building and contribute to the revitalisation of Geelong.
Sustainability principles were embedded in all stages of Ryrie HQ refurbishment, reflecting Barwon Water’s commitment to sustainability outcomes.
The result is a modern office building with outstanding sustainability credentials and staff health and wellbeing features. Ryrie HQ will be 80% more energy efficient than the previous buildings combined. It features a high performance façade that eliminates 95% of direct sun penetration and has a state of the art heating, ventilation and cooling system. The building has spectacular north facing views over Corio Bay and a 300 square metre roof garden that provides urban greening and an exceptional outdoor space for staff. Other key green infrastructure features include two green walls and a raingarden at street level providing water treatment and aquatic biodiversity. The building will re-use rainwater for toilet flushing and irrigating the rain garden and green roof and walls. The building also reconnects all ability access between Ryrie Street and the Arts and Library hub in Little Malop Street. Staff well-being has been greatly enhanced through open plan office layout, extensive natural lighting and views, multiple private and communal break out and meeting spaces, extensive bike parking and end of trip facilities.
A key design feature of Ryrie HQ was to reuse the original building structure. This alone has saved in more than 1 million kilograms of CO2 (equivalent) through minimising the use of new construction materials. In addition to this more than 80% of material removed from the site during demolition was recycled.
The commissioning of the building over the next two years will ensure the building’s operational energy, water and waste processes are tuned to well beyond industry standards. This will also involve air leakage testing to achieve a performance standard of international best practice levels of air tightness. This is unique for the Australian construction industry and is a significant step towards securing building sustainability performance in operation, a result many buildings fail to achieve.
Ryrie HQ is Geelong’s greenest office and has brought all Geelong office based employees together, providing a modern workplace and dramatically reducing energy use. Ryrie HQ achieved a 5 Star Green Star for design and demonstrates that outstanding sustainability outcomes can be achieved despite the constraints of building refurbishments. The building supports the revitalisation of Central Geelong, providing a new architectural and sustainable building icon for Central Geelong and creating a pedestrian link from Ryrie St to the Geelong Arts Precinct.
· Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture, Australian Institute of Architects
· National Sustainability Award, Australian Institute of Architects
· Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for Commercial Architecture, Victorian Architecture Awards
· Sustainability Award, Victorian Architecture Awards